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The Brewers' Company Song!

Members may not realise that our Company has its own song: “The Brewers’ Glee”. The earliest date we know of it being sung at Brewers’ Hall is 1842. It remained a favourite throughout the Victorian era, but later fell out of fashion. ‘Glee’ is an old word for a song generally sung by a small group of male voices. There are three verses, as follows:

‘Tis merry, ‘tis merry in Brewers’ Hall,
   When the welcome cup goes round,
When assembled here at the Master’s call,
Good humour and mirth abound.
Then fill the glass to our standing toast;
No divisions our union shall sever:
May the Brewers’ Company, root and branch,
In prosperity flourish for ever!

For here, in years that have long since passed,
   The tie of fellowship bound us;
And here old Time, as he journeys along,
In harmony still hath found us:
Then fill the glass to our standing toast;
No divisions our union shall sever:
May the Brewers’ Company root and branch,
In prosperity flourish for ever!

Our flowing cups to the Master’s health
   Around shall cheerily pass;
The Song and the Glee, to enliven our board,
Shall join with the circling glass:
Then fill the glass to our standing toast;
No divisions our union shall sever:
May the Brewers’ Company, root and branch,
In prosperity flourish for ever! 

The singer in 1842 was Edward Taylor (1784-1863), Gresham Professor of Music, who entertained the Brewers at a Livery Dinner in our Hall on 12 August that year. He may have also written the words, or the music, or both. Sadly, however, although we still know the words, the original tune has been lost. It must have been so familiar to 19th century Brewers that there was no need to remind them of the notes. We therefore have no idea today what it once sounded like.

An attempt to revive the Brewers’ Glee was made in April 1992, when music was composed by an organist, Walter Morris, to go with the words. It was then sung by several Brewers at the City Glee Club’s concert at Westminster School. After 25 years, perhaps it is time for another revival? Any musical Liverymen are welcome to try out the 1992 composition, or even come up with a new one themselves – especially if they are prepared to perform it, on a suitable Company occasion, at the Hall!